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US news roundup: 27 August to 2 September


This week: a $3.5 trillion spending package, the Afghanistan evacuation and campus vaccinations

In depth: Pandemic preparedness and climate change top the United States government’s agenda for spending on R&D for the 2023 fiscal year, according to a list of priorities released by the White House.

Full story: White House wants R&D to focus on pandemics and climate

Also this week from Research Professional News

US intelligence agencies split on Covid origins, to Republican ire—Agencies agree pandemic virus is not a weapon, but diverge on whether it was engineered


Here is the rest of the US news this week…

$3.5tn spending package passes hurdle

The House of Representatives has voted 220 to 212 along party lines to go ahead with a $3.5 trillion budget resolution—a 10-year government spending package that could see hundreds of billions go to R&D. By using the budget resolution, rather than the standard passing of legislation, Democrats have put control of setting spending levels in the hands of Congressional committees and avoided blocking manoeuvres by Republicans. David Skorton, president of the Association of American Medical Colleges, said he was “grateful” that the instructions given to committees highlighted the need to upgrade research infrastructures.

Societies urge White House to evacuate Afghan Stem workers

Thirty academic institutions and societies have written to the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy to ask for help in getting visas to evacuate scientific, technical, engineering and medical workers from Afghanistan. The societies want priority visas for their volunteers and members still trapped under Taliban rule. They said that the highly conservative group, which seized power last month, was targeting people based on their gender and their membership of professional associations.

Campus vaccination requirements spread as first jab approved

At least 800 colleges and universities have introduced vaccination requirements, according to a tally by the White House. Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said that nearly 50 institutions had made full vaccination a requirement in the last week of August alone. At the beginning of that week, the Food and Drug Administration fully approved a Covid-19 vaccine for the first time. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine had previously been approved for emergency use.